He maketh me to lie in green pastures. He leadeth me beside still waters. He restoreth my soul. In the beloved twenty-third Psalm of the Holy Bible, the serenity of verdant fields is invoked to show the goodness of the Lord. That same brilliant green that speaks of prosperity and peace is captured in a glorious jewel, the peridot, which is itself sometimes referred to as the “evening emerald” because of it’s cool and vibrant shade of green. Ancient Egyptians thought that peridot was symbolic of the sun and while we have left those archaic beliefs far behind us, we still associate the green jewel with summer. Those born in the month of August know peridot as their birthstone, while those whose births took place in other months can only be envious of that distinction. Once associated with Egypt, where historians believe it was favored by the legendary beauty Cleopatra, the peridot is now a worldwide sensation. Featured Left: Cushion-Cut Peridot and Diamond Halo Ring in 14K White Gold.
Peridot is a rarity in that it is one of the few gems that occur naturally in only one color: green. Its hue varies from a light yellow-tinged green to a deeper and more prized olive green depending upon the concentration of iron in the stone itself. It is the magnesium-rich, gem quality grade of olivine which is a silicate mineral mined abundantly in Egypt, the US (particularly Arkansas and Arizona), Brazil, Australia, and a particularly fine deposit of exceptional peridot was discovered in Pakistan in the 1990s. One unique source of peridot is the meteorite. Certain iron and nickel Pallasite meteorites have contained quantities of gem quality peridot and traces of peridot have been found in stardust from comets, making it truly a jewel of the heavens. Some volcanoes, including those on Hawaii, create a sand upon eruption that cools to include pure green peridot crystals. Indeed, it makes an extraordinary and beautiful setting for this emerald-cut peridot and diamond baguette ring.
Throughout history, artisans and queens have adored this beautiful jewel. The central topaz on Aaron’s breastplate as High Priest in the Old Testament is now believed to have been a peridot, misidentified because the island of its origin was “Topacios” which lent listeners to think it was a topaz. The Ancient Romans favored peridot because its golden green brilliancy was pure and steadfast, not shifting in hue with changing light. The Ottoman Empire boasted the largest known collection of peridot, with the sultan’s throne boasting 955 peridot cabochons. (Featured Left: 2 Carat Peridot and Diamond Halo Ring)
They were also known to use large peridot as jewels for their turbans at ceremonial functions. Greek artisans used peridot in their intaglio jewelry. Peridot’s popularity with royalty is legendary, including a noteworthy 192-carat dark olive green peridot is a showpiece of the Russian crown jewels housed in the Kremlin. The largest known of these luscious green gems is a stone of more than three hundred carats that is on display at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. Peridots (in an astonishing 200 carats!) stud the spectacular Shrine of Three Holy Kings in a German church. Peridot jewelry dates back to the second millennium before Christ and has been prized for its vivid, summery color ever since. Certain settings of peridot rings evoke the vintage flair of the jewel exquisitely.
Even in medieval times, people mistook peridot for emeralds (the aforementioned massive gems in the German cathedral were thought to be emeralds for centuries, as was Cleopatra’s parure). In keeping with this historical confusion, the peridot is, ironically, truly stunning in emerald cut peridot earrings. Only a truly clear stone with excellent sparkle is shown to advantage in the prestigious emerald cut. It renders the peridot almost liquid in appearance, as though one were gazing into the clear green waters of a peaceful lake under the hot summer sun of August. Peridot’s color and transparent crystalline appearance lend themselves to nearly any shape for peridot pendants, rings, and jewelry such as oval peridot to the modern and whimsical heart shaped peridot.
Modern brides who favor colored gemstones have chosen peridot engagement rings. Eye catching and distinctive, the peridot engagement ring can be as lavish as a bright brilliant halo ring surrounded by diamonds or as classically delicate as a princess cut three-stone ring in white gold. Engagement rings in peridot are especially appropriate and a thoughtful choice for a bride whose birthday is in August or whose wedding date (and, by extension, future wedding anniversary) will be in that summer month. A summer bride would be delighted with the uniquely personal wedding gift of a peridot heart pendant for the ‘something new’ she’ll wear down the aisle to take her vows, while a wife with an August anniversary would cherish a romantic peridot ring to celebrate the occasion. Because of its lively, youthful green, peridot is an appropriate gift for a young girl—imagine the delight of a ten year old with newly pierced ears when she opens a pair of modest, feminine peridot earrings on her birthday.
Since the days of the Old Testament, peridot has been prized for its exquisite green hue reminiscent of the repose in green pastures promised as comfort for those who believe steadfastly in the Lord. Favored by the Russian czarinas, Ottoman emperors and Cleopatra herself, peridot has a regal bearing and bold brilliance. As the traditional August birthstone, peridot makes a lovely remembrance for women whose birthdays or anniversaries fall in that summer month. A green-eyed lady will prize its lovely hue and any woman seeking a vivacious accessory to her light summer wardrobe will welcome a gift of peridot jewelry. Whether a versatile pair of peridot heart stud earrings or an extravagant peridot engagement ring, peridot was once known as the evening emerald…a jewel so spectacular that it travels in trails of stardust.
Visit Apples of Gold to view their full collection of peridot gems and jewelry from pendants, earrings, engagement rings, necklaces, and rings in both silver and gold.